Monday, February 24, 2014

Nashville Print Revivial Y'all

Having never been to Nashville, I took the Print Revival as an opportunity to see a little bit of the city and the regional print scene. I'll admit I have a little city jealousy because Nashville, TN is quite a good city:

1. I had a perfect grilled cheese sandwich (with a side of tater tots) from a food truck.
2. $5 for 5 bands at The Basement.
3. I saw my first bike lane in the American South.
4. When I was standing in a crowd, the person next to me let me take a swig off his whiskey.
5. It was warm and sunny in February.
6. Hipsters! (I know people like to complain, but I find them a comfort in a crowded room.)
7. Letterpress is alive & well.
8. I bought a tub of shea butter from the farmers market in an unlabeled plastic container.
9. (In the 90s way) I used the word "sweet" to a local printmaker and he knew what I meant.
10. YUM--the Jamaican food--YUM.

My students from University of Alabama Huntsville and I were invited to participate in the Nashville Print Revival by exhibiting work with several other students and professors from various regional colleges and universities. My students from UAH agreed to each make a new edition, choosing the medium and content and they truly made exceptional prints.

Andrea Williams, Woodblock & linoleum cut, title: I wanted to tell you all of my secrets, but then you became one of them.
Baxter Stults, screenprint, title: Biophagist
Tim Arment, screenprint, title: Blown Away
In addition to the exhibition there were a variety of events planned. Here is my top 10 list regarding the Nashville Print Revival:

1. Hatch Show Print!
The print shop that has been shaping the world of letterpress printing from 1879 until today

"Advertising without a posters is like fishing without worms." --the Hatch Brothers.
i <3   '!-
2. Open portfolio!
Tables upon tables covered with prints, a sight for sore eyes.
"You are like a small orange, A cutie" by Oscar a graphic design student from Austin Peay State University, where Professor Cindy Marsh has acquired an extensive collection of woodtype.
3. Visiting Artists! Michael Krueger from the University of Kansas created a large screenprint with Professor Mark Hosford (of Sugarboy Press) and his printmaking students.
"It's so green." --Michael Krueger
9 out of 12 passes completed. Imagery influenced by Michael's interest in Drop City culture.
4. Demos! Kelsey Taylor demonstrates relief printing.
Her sweet etching press.
5. Exhibitions! Substrates and matrices on view along with other art exhibitions upstairs at The Arcade.
Kathryn Polk
6. Workshops at the Community Printshop at Platetone
Blah Blah Blah screenprinted scarves.

Lars with relief printed postcards, Platetone Represent
7. Letterpress printed propaganda everywhere!
Shop local, so uniquely curiously & honestly Nashville
8. As I walked from venue to venue, I had to take off my jacket because it was too warm!!!!!!!!
Nashville capitol building
9. Poster Print Fair at the Barista Parlor, where they clearly have their finger on the pulse of hip coffee and some sort of underground tunnel between Nashville and Portland.
CORN it's what's for dinner, by Bethany Rahn
Isle of Printing
Bought this poster from JustAJar Design + Press for the walls of the letterpress studio at UAH.
10. And the cake.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Work Gets Ugly

I don't want things to simply be beautiful, but I do strive to have beauty in my work.

The tools and materials I use in book arts and printmaking are in themselves lovely things. 
 Wood, paper, ink = beautiful. 
Awls, bonefolders, type, printing presses = beautiful.

For me, artist books are monumental projects. 
They are complicated, time consuming, and challenging.

The craft involved often brings me to my knees. Days upon days of printing, the deeper I get into the project, the more I am terrified I will make a mistake, losing the hours of work completed the previous day. Concentrating on registration, creative decisions, imposition, type-o's is exhausting. Sometimes the work gets ugly. Initial lists are re-written with sub-lists. Printed textures aren't working and I decide I need a third layer. 8 PM becomes 1 AM. 850 impressions later and I still need to print the colophon. My hands are cracked and dry. I have not a coherent thought in my head, and then I start to bind 20 books. I am working towards the completion of 1825-1862-1918 (Shift) for an exhibition at the San Francisco Center for the Book during Southern Graphics Council Conference. In it's final state it will be a finely crafted object of beauty. However, my studio is not: 
A switch from coffee to tea, perhaps not a good idea.
Cookie gift from Curtles.